As we have learned, beekeeping has not only the mere task of providing honey and all the products of the hive; in fact, we know the important environmental value that is generated by the care of bees, protagonists of the pollination process and guarantors of the preservation of biodiversity. However, there is yet another side to beekeeping: the educational, pedagogical and didactic value that the contact and knowledge of the beehive and its small inhabitants gives to curious people who approach the world of beekeeping for the first time. It is not only a didactic and recreational purpose for children and people with difficulties, but it is also an excellent tool and example for adults. First of all, getting in touch with these insects, for many, means facing and overcoming fear: once you get in touch with bees you will realize the exceptional result of facing and overcoming fear, thus allowing, especially in younger subjects, to carry this experience into everyday life, with relevant results on self-esteem and ability to recognize and relativize daily problems and challenges. Being able to have contact with bees while avoiding stings and panic attacks is a fundamental exercise of self-control. To approach bees, as well as many other animals, it is necessary to be calm and transmit tranquility to the insects in order not to be identified as a hostile and an enemy to be removed and pay the direct consequences. With this tool, therefore, we learn to recognize and manage our emotions and feelings.
Beekeeping also means attention to the environment, manual skills and relationships. One of the most worrying social emergencies of our days is the detachment, especially of children and adolescents living in cities, from nature and the loss of manual skills, tragically visible consequences on the environment and on personal abilities. Bringing beekeeping to schools and urban contexts means creating the possibility for these children to live an authentic contact with nature, learning to know and respect it and living an enriching experience on a personal level.
Many projects, including the C.E.R.A. project developed in collaboration with the Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e per la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA) work on the social value of beekeeping. In fact, beekeeping offers multiple products that can be obtained from a beehive and, through these, it represents a means for the integration of disadvantaged people and those with difficulties into society. Bees represent a model of effective society based on the diversity among individuals and on the subdivision in roles; every individual turns out to be an indispensable piece for the life of the whole family, covering the social role that is due to him. The beehive, therefore, represents a metaphor for a model based on diversity as a heritage to be safeguarded and enhanced, able to enrich society, making it stronger, fairer and more liveable for all. Beekeeping, therefore, understood as a component of social agriculture is an activity of local sustainable development from the social, economic and environmental point of view.